What a wild start it has been to Martin Truex Jr.’s 500th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start. In pre-race inspection for the Consumers Energy 400, Truex’s No. 19 car failed twice. As a result, he was sent to the rear of the field and his race engineer was sent packing.
However, Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn dialed up a gas-only strategy during the green flag pit stops, which got Truex out in front of the field.
Truex then skillfully held off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who had fresh tires, for the Stage win.
Truex led 15 laps for the Stage win.
Brad Keselowski, who started from the pole and led the race’s first 40 laps, finished third in the Stage. Joey Logano was fourth and William Byron ended the Stage in fifth.
Kevin Harvick bounced back from a flat tire to finish sixth, Ryan Blaney was seventh while Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10 and scored Stage Points as well.
Jimmie Johnson is dead-last in the field after cutting a tire and getting into the wall on lap eight. Johnson has returned to pit road numerous times and is seven laps down going into Stage 2. Johnson is of course locked in a battle trying to take the final Playoff Berth. Things aren’t looking good for the No. 48 team early on.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.